Matt and I went out to eat at The Place on Friday night. This restaurant is tucked away, deep in the West Village. We were drawn to the open air dining they offered, it being one of the warmest spring nights in the city yet.
The waitress suggested an appetizer “The butternut squash ravioli is not to be missed!” that we ordered along with a frisee salad with apples, Stilton blue cheese, and walnuts. Both were great. Beautifully plated. The ravioli was as good as the waitress suggested – and wound up being the highlight of the meal. They were housemade, the pasta was delicate and cooked al dente. The stuffing was delicious, well-seasoned, and savory. The ravioli sat in a small amount of olive oil that tasted like it was swirled with reduced veal or beef stock. The meaty and savory flavor contribution of the beef or veal stock perfectly complimented the somewhat sweet butternut squash. Yum.
Our entrees were also very good, though mine had some components I could have done without. I ordered the Long Island duck three ways. Seared duck breast with pan sauce, duck leg confit, and wontons with duck stuffing were the three preparations. The first, the duck breast, was the best of all. Cooked perfectly and tender. I was sad that there was so little. I wanted to turn in my duck wonton for more duck breast. The wonton lacked flavor and the wonton wrapper was a bit undercooked. The duck leg confit was nice – savory, juicy, with crispy skin – but how can you go wrong (see my entry Duck Confit)? Potato scallion pancakes were served with the duck trio. I love a potato pancake, but these were sweet, not savory. They tasted like a sweet cornmeal or cake flour had been used with very little potato or scallion taste. The pancakes were left on the plate with the wontons. Why not more duck breast and lose the wontons?
A grilled flank steak with peppercorn sauce served with wilted spinach and smashed potatoes was the second entree we ordered. The steak was a beautiful medium rare, well seasoned, with a tasty crisped exterior. Delicious. The spinach was ok, the potatoes were well-done. Matt loved the smashed potato preparation – chunky with bits of skin in a rustic style (my personal favorite way to do mashed potatoes).
Dessert was a poached pear, glazed, and served with cinnamon ice cream – mmmm…. The pear was soft, sweet, and spiced with winter spices. Cinnamon ice cream was the perfect compliment.
Overall, this restaurant was a nice step up from casual dining, had great candle lighting for romance, along with and attentive and helpful waitstaff. I would certainly recommend it to friends and include that the butternut squash raviolis are a must.